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Homeland Security to Collect Social Media Data on All Immigrants Including Naturalized US Citizens

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Invasion of Privacy?

A new rule due to be implemented on October 18 by the Department of Homeland Security which allows DHS to collect complete social media information on all immigrants has privacy and civil libertarian advocacy groups alarmed. The rule goes beyond would-be visitors to the U.S. and would also apply to those who have already obtained a green card or gone through the naturalization process.

The rule also directly impacts U.S. citizens who communicate with immigrants on social media by making their conversations the subject of government surveillance according to Adam Schwartz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Speaking with a journalist from Buzzfeed Monday, Schwartz said, “We see this as part of a larger process of high tech surveillance of immigrants and more and more people being subjected to social media screening. There’s a growing trend at the Department of Homeland Security to be snooping on the social media of immigrants and foreigners and we think it’s an invasion of privacy and deters freedom of speech.”

One immigrant rights advocate who declined to be identified labeled the new rule as “one more step on the way to the slippery slope by the U.S. government in abrogating its constitutional mandate to uphold the rights and civil liberties of Americans.”  Calling it an unprecedented move, the advocate told NCRM, “Blanket social media screening of permanent residents and naturalized citizens is a clear invasion of privacy and violates peoples’ freedom of speech and expression. This rule suggests an attempt to both limit immigration and silence political dissent among those who strongly disagree with Trump’s policies, particularly his singling out those of the Muslim faith.”

A report issued last February by DHS’s own inspector general found that all of the DHS pilot programs for using social media to screen immigration applicants “lack criteria for measuring performance to ensure they meet their objectives.”

“Although the pilots include some objectives, such as determining the effectiveness of an automated search tool and assessing data collection and dissemination procedures, it is not clear DHS is measuring and evaluating the pilots’ results to determine how well they are performing against set criteria,” the report reads.

This past May the administration had implemented a new questionnaire for use by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs requiring all visa applicants to disclose social media handles for the past five years, as well as biographical information going back 15 years.

Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s liberty and national security program, said this is yet another fad, started by the Obama administration, fueled by the belief that social media is going to help the U.S. stop an attack in the country.

“It’s very difficult to successfully use social media to determine what people are going or not going to do,” Patel told BuzzFeed News. “When you look at all the different ways in which we use communication tools, and social media is pretty different, very truncated. People use emojis, they use short form, sometimes it’s difficult to know what something means.”

The rule is slated to go into effect after the public comment period has ended.

Reporting by Brody Levesque for NCRM, Buzzfeed News, and Reuters

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Image by Animated Heaven via Flickr and a CC license

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Rick Scott’s IVF Pledge Using His Own Grandkids Slammed as ‘Lie’ by Democrats

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U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), running for re-election and running to replace Mitch McConnell as Senate Republican Leader, has put out a new seven-figure ad that uses his children and grandchildren as he pledges to protect in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but Democrats in the Sunshine State are accusing him of lying.

“My wife Ann and I have two daughters and seven perfect grandkids. Each is a precious gift from God. But sometimes families need help. Millions of babies have come into this world from IVF, in-vitro fertilization. In fact, our youngest daughter’s receiving an IVF treatment right now, hoping to expand her family. She and I both agree IVF must be protected. For our family, for every family,” Senator Scott says in his latest ad he’s also posted to social media (below).

Democrats are calling Sen. Scott out for what they say is a lie.

On Thursday, Scott voted against the Right to IVF Act, Democratic legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who blasted him on Friday: “You literally voted against my bill to protect IVF yesterday.”

READ MORE: Right Wing Justices Rule Ban on Gun Accessory Used in Major Mass Shooting Unlawful

On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked Duckworth’s bill in a 48-47 vote. Only two Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins voted with Democrats for the legislation.

“Rick Scott voted against protecting access to IVF — a miracle treatment that has allowed millions of Americans to start families,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried said in a statement that also includes his voting record and statements on IVF and other issues including abortion. “Scott has made it crystal clear that he will stop at nothing to rip away personal decisions from women and their families — and it will cost him his Senate seat.”

“Scott previously blocked legislation to protect IVF treatment that was introduced in response to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that stored embryos have the same legal protections as children,” the Florida Democratic Party statement also reads. “Scott is now trying to cover up his anti-IVF record by touting an ’empty, symbolic’ resolution that would do nothing to actually protect IVF and spending millions to lie to Floridians about his phony support for IVF.”

The Florida Phoenix last week reported, “Scott, a Republican, will likely face former South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in November. Both candidates must get through their respective party primary elections in August.”

READ MORE: ‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

“Mucarsel-Powell has been relentless in criticizing Scott’s record on abortion rights. Last week, her campaign issued a statement noting that the Scott had received an “A+” rating from Students for Life Action, an anti-abortion organization that opposes IVF.”

Political consultant Dana Houle observed, “If you’re running ads trying to convince people you’re not opposed to IVF (which in effect he is, since he voted against protecting it) you’re in pretty big trouble. It’s crazy to think that it’s likely that one of the decisive events of the 2024 campaign occurred in Alabama.”

That also appears to be the position of Florida Democratic Party executive director Phillip Jerez, who responded to Scott’s ad by asking, “Didn’t you vote AGAINST the IVF bill in the Senate yesterday?”

“Rick Scott is now putting up this 7-figure ad because he needs to work OVERTIME to lie to Floridians,” Jerez added. “He’s never won an election by more than 1% and never in a presidential year. Rick Scott is in trouble.”

David Simon, the well-known author, journalist, and screenwriter known for his colorful language, also responded to Sen. Scott: “Shitheel, you voted against the bill to protect IVF and then ran out to tweet this horseshit the next day. Even by our American standards of grifting, empty political hacks, this is wondrous.”

See Sen. Scott’s ad above or at this link.

RELATED: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

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Right Wing Justices Rule Ban on Gun Accessory Used in Major Mass Shooting Unlawful

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In a 6-3 decision along partisan lines, right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a bump stock, an accessory used in America’s most-deadly mass shooting, that effectively turns an AR-15 into a machine gun, cannot be regulated under current law. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion. The device is so dramatically lethal pro-gun President Donald Trump banned it in 2018.

“The Supreme Court just effectively legalized machine guns,” is the headline of Ian Millhiser’s report at Vox. He says Friday’s ruling “effectively legalizes civilian ownership of automatic weapons.”

“Bump stocks increase an AR-15’s rate of fire from 180 rounds per minute to 400-800 rounds per minute,” explained Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, in response to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. “They inflict mass carnage by allowing the gunman to shoot automatically, without pulling the trigger. Yet the Supreme Court declares that they do not create a ‘machinegun.’ ”

READ MORE: ‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

Legal and gun experts might delve in to the mechanics of what makes a gun a gun, what makes a machine gun a machine gun, add in the conservative justices’ “textualism” and “originalism” theories where words are supposed to only mean what they meant when the Constitution, or, in this case, a law was written, but as Stern and Aaron Fritschner, the deputy chief of staff for a Democratic U.S. Congressman discussed (social media post below), the Supreme Court appears, they say, to have interpreted the plain language of words differently than their plain meaning to reach the conclusion they did:

Indeed, as senior advisor to the nonprofit organization Court Accountability and self-described “lapsed lawyer” Mike Sacks noted, in her dissent, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote: “When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

Sacks adds, “Sotomayor calls out *every* *single* *one* *of* *her* *Republican* *colleagues* for abandoning their textualist ‘principle,’ in a paragraph that concludes, “Today, the majority forgets that principle and substitutes its own view of what constitutes a “machinegun” for Congress’s.”

Berkeley professor of public policy and former Cabinet Secretary Robert Reich wrote, “Koch-backed groups called on SCOTUS to overturn the federal bump stock ban. Clarence Thomas secretly attended Koch fundraising events, but of course didn’t recuse from this case — he wrote the majority opinion. Our nation’s highest court is beyond compromised.”

NBC News reported in December of 2018 that Donald Trump “had urged the federal government to ban bump stocks this past spring following a deadly Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. However, the device gained notoriety when a lone gunman killed 59 people and injured at least 527 others attending a country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 22 semi-automatic rifles and 14 of them were equipped with bump stocks. They allowed him to fire the rifles continuously with a single pull of the trigger, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.”

That shooting to this day remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern day history.

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

 

 

 

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Clarence Thomas Took Even More Billionaire-Paid Trips Than We Knew: Senate Report

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took even more billionaire-funded trips than he or investigative reporting have previously revealed, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democrat Dick Durbin, who says those trips were not disclosed via the Justice’s annual financial reporting forms.

Justice Thomas received an estimated $5.8 million in gifts over the past two decades, a large portion from billionaire Harlan Crow, the government watchdog Fix the Court revealed last week. It is not known if the additional trips Chairman Durbin’s investigation exposed are included in that calculation. The total of all gifts all justices accepted over 20 years, including “likely” gifts, Fix The Court reported, was $6,592,657.

“Thomas traveled on Crow’s private jet during trips in 2017, 2019 and 2021 between various US states, as well as on a previously known 2019 trip to Indonesia, during which Thomas also stayed on Crow’s mega-yacht,” CNN reports. “The newly revealed private plane trips add to the picture of luxury travel enjoyed by Thomas and bankrolled by friends of the justice who have ties to conservative politics.”

READ MORE: ‘We Do Not Remember When You Tried to Have Us Killed’: GOP Slammed for Trump Standing Ovation

Punchbowl News’ Andrew Desiderio adds the new information “was obtained via the [committee’s] subpoena authorization for Crow.”

“’Mr. Crow reached an agreement with the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide information responsive to its requests going back seven years,’ Crow spokesperson Michael Zona said of the information revealed Thursday,” CNN also reported.

Zona claimed Crow has “serious and continued concerns about the legality and necessity of the inquiry,” but “Mr. Crow engaged in good faith negotiations with the Committee from the beginning to resolve the matter. As a condition of this agreement, the Committee agreed to end its probe with respect to Mr. Crow.”

Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

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